French president denies Trump claims on defense spending

Photo: DoD -- Photo: NATO
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BRUSSELS (AP/KKTV) - French President Emmanuel Macron has denied reports that U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to withdraw the United States from the NATO military alliance in a dispute over funding.

“President Trump never at any moment, either in public or in private, threatened to withdraw from NATO,” Macron told reporters.

The French president also dismissed claims by Trump that NATO allies have agreed to boost defense spending beyond 2 percent of gross domestic product.

Macron said: There is a communique that was published yesterday. It’s very detailed.”

He added: “It confirms the goal of 2 percent by 2024. That’s all.”

The summit statement affirms a commitment made in 2014 after Russia annexed Crimea that NATO allies would halt defense spending cuts, start spending more as their economies grow, with the aim of moving toward 2 percent of GDP within a decade.

Macron's remarks followed an impromptu news conference Thursday in Brussels where Trump declared that NATO members had agreed to "substantially" boost spending after he told them he was "extremely unhappy."

"They're going to up it at levels that they never thought of before," Trump said.

He did not specify which countries had committed to what